Steve takes a look back at last week's golf which saw yet another first time winner in the States and yet another title for the relentless Miguel Angel Jimenez...
“We’ve had 28 events so far in the 2013/14 PGA Tour season and more than half of them (15) have been won by someone leading or co-leading with a round to go.”
After beating Australian veteran, Richard Green, and Belgian youngster, Thomas Pieters, at the first play-off hole yesterday, Spanish legend Miguel Angel Jimenez has finally won his national title. The 50-year-old, who was matched at a high of 34.033/1, broke his own record as the oldest winner on the European Tour and he was playing in the event for the 27th time.
On a dramatic and very tough final day, where scoring was high, Richard Green, who in common with Pieters, had been matched at 1000.0 before the off, had looked the most likely winner at one stage. He was matched at a low of 1.68/13 in-running but a disastrous triple-bogey seven at the 14th hole cost him dear.
Over in the States, Brendon Todd, matched at 190.0189/1 before the off, was the impressive winner of the HP Byron Nelson Championship after shooting a bogey-free four-under-par 68 to win by two strokes over 44-year-old Canadian, Mike Weir.
It was a week that promised much but delivered nothing. Richie Ramsay, backed at 100.099/1 in Spain, was on the premises all week long but missed out on the play-off by a couple of strokes and having been in a great position at halfway in Texas, I was left with only Marc Leishman (backed at 55.054/1) to cheer on yesterday and he could only finish tied third, beaten by four strokes.
Leishman looked to hold every chance after playing the first eight holes in four-under-par and he was matched at a low of 2.3811/8 but it all turned sour on the back-nine after he drove into the water on 11. I was holding out for odds-on before I traded anything back so I didn't quite get anything out of my wager on him and the only thing I console myself with this week is the fact that I didn't get too involved and that I haven't lost much.
What have we learnt for next year?
Given the Open de España moves to Real Club de Golf El Prat next year and that we don't know when or even if it will return to TPC Catalunya, there doesn't seem to be much point in analysing the result too deeply so I'll concentrate my efforts on Texas.
The TPC Four Seasons will only host the HP Byron Nelson Championship four more times before it moves to a brand new venue called Trinity Forrest in 2019 and I, along with most other punters and players, will be glad to see it move. The winners here have been hard to find and most of the players dislike the layout.
No strong trends stick out but I will again look at debutants - Peter Hanson led after round one having never played there before, Paul Casey equalled the PGA Tour scoring record for nine-holes, when he shot 27 on the back-nine on Friday morning, and James Hahn would have rewarded anyone that backed him at a huge price each-way.
Although there appeared to be an extraordinary amount of change on the leaderboard, yet again the winner was bang there all week. Todd sat in a tie for 13th after round one and he was in front by halfway. Both Paul Casey (on Friday) and Louis Oosthuizen (Saturday) advertised the fact that lots of ground can be made up here but neither player could back-up their low rounds and it's noticeable that five of the first six home, and seven of the top-ten all shot four rounds in the 60s and the worse round any of the top-ten hit was 71.
Should we just back third round leaders blind in the States?
With the absence of Tiger Woods through injury, and the seemingly poor form of many highly-ranked players, including brand new world number one, Adam Scott, who overtook Woods this morning in the official rankings, we've seen some unusual and very difficult to spot, winners on the PGA Tour this season.
Todd was the eighth to win his first PGA Tour title this season and that's a trend I don't see ending. As every first-timer goes in, all those looking to break their ducks gain a little more encouragement and the stats suggest we shouldn't be looking at the leaderboards on a Sunday morning and assuming that the maiden in front might struggle.
The last four winners have been in front with a round to go and two of them were winning their first titles. And the other two, JB Holmes and Martin Kaymer, were winning for the first time in years. We've had 28 events so far in the 2013/14 PGA Tour season and more than half of them (15) have been won by someone leading or co-leading with a round to go.
Where next for Miguel Angel Jimenez?
The likable Spaniard grows his now legendry standing in the game on almost a weekly basis. He's now won 21 European Tour titles (14 of which after he'd reached 40!) and having broken the record as the oldest player to win on the European Tour back in 2012, at the Hong Kong Open, he's now extended the record twice - when he successfully defended that title to win it for a fourth time in December, and now here in Spain.
He's the only player to win twice on the Race to Dubai this season, was fourth at the US Masters last month, before winning on his Champions Tour debut, and he now looks highly likely to break another record when he becomes the oldest player to feature in a Ryder Cup. In addition to his incredible effort at Augusta he led the Open Championship at halfway last year, so don't rule him out becoming the oldest man to win a major. And certainly don't write him off this week.
Jimenez won the BMW PGA Championship in 2008, was fourth last year, and has finished inside the top-10 in five of the last 10 renewals. I didn't fancy him last week, as his record in the Open de España was very ordinary but he could easily figure again this week.
One thing is for certain though, whether he contends or not, he'll bring something uniquely special to Wentworth. Win lose or draw he's a breath of fresh air every week and what does he put all his success down to?
"There's no secret. Good food, good wine, good cigars and some exercise!"
I'll be back tonight or more likely tomorrow with my preview of the BMW PGA Championship, as well as one for the PGA Tour action at the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter